Former Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) controlling shareholder Shari Arison has completed the sale of a fourth tranche of shares to institutional investors. This time she has sold a 2.3% stake in the bank for NIS 1.03 billion.
The latest sale followed Arison’s decision in September 2018 to sell her holdings in Israel and her sale yesterday demonstrates how the patience to sell her shares gradually has paid off. Yesterday’s sale leaves Arison with a 5.6% stake in the bank worth NIS 2.5 billion.
Arison sold the shares yesterday at NIS 33.77 per share at a discount of just 1% on the market price.
She sold her first tranche of shares in November 2018, when she reduced her stake in Bank Hapoalim from 20% to 15.8% at a price of NIS 25 per share. In total, Arison has sold shares for NIS 5.4 billion with the price rising 35% between her first sale and yesterday’s sale. In addition, she has received NIS 32 million in dividends from profits in the second quarter of 2022 distributed by the bank.
Sources close to the latest sale of Arison’s Hapoalim shares say the decision to sell was entirely ‘opportunistic.’ She was able to locate a range of institutional investors in Israel and abroad who believed that Hapoalim’s share price is very low compared with other Israeli and international banks, making the Israeli bank a worthwhile investment.
The Bank of Israel has given Arison seven years to cut her stake to below 5%, which means she can afford to sell less than 1% stakes over each of the coming years.
In contrast to Arison’s patient approach to selling her Hapoalim stake, she sold her controlling 47% stake in real estate and infrastructures company Shikun Binui Holdings Ltd. (TASE: SKBN) in June 2018 to Naty Saidoff for NIS 1.1 billion at a discount of 15% on the company’s then share price. It turns out this was a mistake because the share price has since soared by several hundred percent.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on September 7, 2022.
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